The Baltimore Sun

Water main that burst Saturday is repaired and service restored

A 10-inch water main that ruptured Saturday, flooding and damaging South Hanover Street on the border of Federal Hill and Sharp-Leadenhall, was repaired yesterday and water restored to about 30 rowhouses, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman said.

Shortly before noon, work crews also repaired Hanover Street, just south of Hamburg Street, well before the 7 p.m. preseason football game between the Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles. Hanover Street is near M&T; Bank Stadium and is often crowded with game traffic.

The main broke Saturday and took until early yesterday to fix. At least 30 rowhouses on Hanover Street were without water for much of the weekend.

Cathy Powell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works, said a contractor was working on the line to clean and upgrade parts when it broke. Powell said city officials were unable to reach the contractor, who ordinarily would be responsible for the fixing the problem.

After a time, Powell said the city stepped in. "We had to go ahead and make the repairs," she said. The spokeswoman said the break was more severe than officials first realized, and that much of the digging had to be done by hand to avoid damaging underground utility lines.

Powell said officials will have to determine whether a section of the broken line can be replace or if a much longer pipe has to be installed. She said the contractor would have to pay for the repairs if it is determined it was the company's fault.

"The contractor did not respond fast enough," Powell said. "The citizens want their water, so the city had to step in."


: East side

Hit-and-run driver kills woman, 39

An East Baltimore woman died early yesterday at a hospital after she was struck by a car near her home just seconds after pushing her daughter out of the path of the vehicle, the driver of which failed to stop.

Sharon Allen, 39, of the 1800 block of N. Regester St. and her 16-year-old daughter were crossing the 1700 block of E. North Ave. about 6 a.m. and were standing on the double yellow lines when the woman observed a westbound Kia bearing down on them, said Agent Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

Moses said Allen shoved her daughter from the path of the car and was struck. He said the driver of the Kia kept driving.

Moses said the impact drove the woman into the path of an eastbound Toyota that also struck her. That driver stopped, he said.

Allen was taken by ambulance to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she had surgery for multiple injuries, but died shortly before 9 a.m.

Anyone with information about the Kia or its driver is urged to call city traffic police at 410-396-2606.


: Charles Village

Fire damages vacant building

Fire officials were investigating the cause of a single-alarm fire that broke out last night in a vacant three-story office building in Charles Village. There were no injuries.

Reported at 8:22 p.m., the fire apparently began in the basement of 2205 N. Charles St. and quickly spread to the first floor, filling the remaining two floors with heavy smoke, said Battalion Chief Harry Wenger.

Firefighters manning at least 10 pieces of equipment, including two aerial ladders, brought the fire under control in less than 30 minutes, Wenger said.

Their quick action prevented damage to two adjoining businesses, Neild Chesapeake Rug & Drapery Cleaners and an Asian carryout.

Wenger said it appeared remodeling was being done in the vacant building and that there were no obvious signs of how the fire started or where in the basement it began.

Light traffic on northbound Charles Street was diverted to nearby streets by Northern District police.

Richard Irwin


: Labor

2 fire unions to get 5% raise in year pact

Members of the city's two fire unions would receive a 5 percent pay increase as a part of their new one-year contract with the city.

The contract has not been signed, but both of the unions agreed to the language in separate votes last week. The pay increase would be retroactive to July, according to union leaders.

The contract also stipulates that about 150 medics would have additional pay increases.

"It is not everything we wanted, but it is a major improvement over what the city was offering," said Steve Fugate, president of the fire officers union.

He noted that his members' work schedule was not changed - something that he said the city had wanted to do.

Rick Binetti, a Fire Department spokesman, did not comment on the contract. The unions have been negotiating the contract since January and went to binding arbitration in March.

Annie Linskey

Baltimore County

: Media request

WBAL-TV seeks video of killer's confession

A lawyer representing a local television station petitioned a Baltimore County judge at a hearing yesterday to allow the station to copy a videotape of a convicted killer's confession to police.

Nathan Siegel, a lawyer for WBAL-TV, asked Baltimore County Circuit Judge Mickey J. Norman for access to a video of John Gaumer, describing in graphic terms how he sexually assaulted, maimed and killed Josie P. Brown in December 2005. Gaumer, who had met the 27-year-old woman on the social networking site Myspace.com, was convicted of first-degree murder in May but is appealing.

Siegel argued that under state law, evidence entered in court becomes part of the public record, unless there is a compelling reason for it to be withheld.

County Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst countered that the station wanted the video for "sensationalistic" reasons and argued that it should not be released out of respect for the victim's family. She said that members of the media did not need to copy the video because they viewed it in court and received a transcript of the confession.

Norman is expected to issue a written opinion on the matter in the next few weeks.

Julie Scharper

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